The Central Council of Banque du Liban (BDL) held an exceptional session on Friday under the chairmanship of Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, during which it was unanimously agreed to compel banks to pay $400 (fresh dollars) in addition to the equivalent value in Lebanese pounds for holders of accounts older than October 2019.
Dollars transferred to Lebanon in more recent months, known as “fresh dollars”, are held in new accounts and not subject to withdrawal restrictions imposed by the Central Bank.
The BDL Central Council of convened on Friday to discuss how depositors will be able to withdraw U.S. dollars in cash from their funds which had been deposited with banks in Lebanon.
Salameh also announced that the BDL will be selling U.S. dollars for banks participating in Sayrafa platform at the rate of 12,000 Lebanese pounds to the dollar, such USD to be sold by banks at the rate of 12,120 LBP per dollar.
Based on the above, those wishing to participate are requested to register all orders with the platform as from Monday (June 7, 2021) until Wednesday (June 9, 2021), provided that the required amount of money is paid, upon registration of the order, in Lebanese pounds in cash.
Such transactions will be settled on Thursday (June 10, 2021), and U.S. dollars will be paid for correspondent banks exclusively.
The total transactions for this week amount to 10 million USD, at a rate of 12,200 pounds per dollar, on Sayrafa platform.
The Banking Control Commission has been assigned to ensure that money changers are complying with the implementation of relevant circulars.
Lebanese banks have mostly locked depositors out of their dollar accounts and blocked transfers abroad. Under a BDL circular last year, depositors were allowed to withdraw dollars, with the funds paid in the local currency at a rate of 3,900 pounds to the dollar.
That is only about a third of the value of dollars on the black market, but has been the only way many Lebanese have been able to access their funds.